|Publication number||US7408642 B1|
|Application number||US 11/356,878|
|Publication date||Aug 5, 2008|
|Filing date||Feb 17, 2006|
|Priority date||Feb 17, 2006|
|Publication number||11356878, 356878, US 7408642 B1, US 7408642B1, US-B1-7408642, US7408642 B1, US7408642B1|
|Original Assignee||Kla-Tencor Technologies Corporation|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (11), Referenced by (16), Classifications (7), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates generally to the testing of semiconductor wafers during the production of the wafer. More specifically, the present invention relates to the use of a new alignment pattern to determine the registration accuracy between two patterned layers on a semiconductor wafer and image placement accuracy of each patterned layer.
One of the most critical process control techniques used in the manufacturing of integrated circuits is the measurement of overlay accuracy between successive, patterned layers on a wafer (i.e., the determination of how accurately a patterned layer aligns with respect to the layer above or below it).
Presently this measurement is done with test patterns that are etched into the layers. The relative displacement is measured by imaging the patterns at high magnification on an electronic camera using any of a variety of known image analysis algorithms. The most commonly used patterns are concentric squares with dimensions of approximately 20 to 40 micrometers on each side, generally referred to as “box within a box” target.
As is generally well known, the overlay error between the two boxes, along the x-axis for example, is determined by calculating the locations of the edges of lines c1 and c2 of the outer box 2, and the edge locations of the lines C3 and C4 of the inner box 1, and then comparing the average separation between lines C1 and C3 with the average separation between lines C2 and C4. Half of the difference between the average separations C1 and C3 and C2 and C4 is the overlay error (along the x-axis). Thus, if the average spacing between lines C1 and C3 is the same as the average spacing between lines C2 and C4, the corresponding overlay error tends to be zero. Although not described, the overlay error between the two boxes along the y-axis may also be determined using the above technique.
This prior art is further described and analyzed by Neal T. Sullivan, “Semiconductor Pattern Overlay”, in Handbook of Critical Dimensions Metrology and Process Control, pp. 160-188, vol. CR52, SPIE Press (1993). The accuracy of this technique is limited by the asymmetry of etched line profiles, by aberrations in the illumination and imaging optics, and by image sampling in the camera. In addition, chemical mechanical planarization (CMP), which is often used in semiconductor manufacturing, can damage such alignment structures. Variations on such box-in-box structures are also described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,118,185 and 6,130,750, the disclosures of both of which are incorporated herein by reference.
Partly in response to the above concerns, a grating-type mark was developed. An example of such a mark 10 is shown in
Unfortunately, as the semiconductor industry uses smaller and smaller design rules, the total error budget for overlay becomes smaller. Part of this error budget includes measurement of both overlay error and a type of error known as image placement error. This latter error is related to the absolute displacement of features of the pattern formed in a layer during a semiconductor fabrication process, usually at the photomask or other tooling used to print the pattern at the wafer level. Unfortunately, grating-type (AIM) marks are not suitable for measurement of this error. Absolute displacement or image placement error measurements require isolated “X” and “Y” edges, which conflict with the dense grating-type marks.
Thus, there is a need in the art, for a new type of alignment mark that overcomes the above disadvantages and a method for using such a mark.
Embodiments of the present invention use a combined mark as a target for use in measuring the relative position between two substantially coplanar layers of a device wherein a second layer of said two layers is located on a first layer of said two layers.
In embodiments of the present invention, a combined overlay and image placement error target may include image placement error targets and grating-type overlay targets. A first image placement error structure may be placed on a first layer of a device such that the first image placement error structure is visible through a second layer. A first periodic structure may be placed on the first layer of said device proximate said first image placement error structure such that the first periodic structure is visible through said second layer. The first image placement error structure and first periodic structure may have a common centroid. The first periodic structure may be sufficiently spaced-apart from the first image placement error structure that the first periodic structure does not interfere with image placement error measurements made using said first image placement error structure. A second periodic structure that complements the first periodic structure may be placed on the second layer of the device at a location that is adjacent the first periodic structure when the second layer is placed on the first layer. A second image placement error structure may be placed on the second layer proximate the first and second periodic structures. The second image placement error structure and said second periodic structure may have a common centroid. The first and second periodic structures may be sufficiently spaced-apart from the second image placement error structure that the first and second periodic structures do not interfere with an image placement error measurement made using the second image placement error structure.
In some embodiments, the combined overlay target may include a grating-type mark located within a ring-type mark. The grating-type mark and the ring type mark may have a common centroid. The target may include a first ring structure to be placed on said first layer of the device. The fist ring structure is visible through the second layer. A first periodic structure may be placed on the first layer of the device within said first ring structure such that the first periodic structure is visible through the second layer. A second periodic structure that complements the first periodic structure may be placed on the second layer of the device within the first ring structure at a location that is adjacent the first periodic structure when said second layer is placed on said first layer. A second ring structure that complements said first ring structure may be placed on the second layer within said first ring structure such that the first and second periodic structures are located within said second ring structure.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reading the following detailed description and upon reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
Although the following detailed description contains many specific details for the purposes of illustration, anyone of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that many variations and alterations to the following details are within the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the exemplary embodiments of the invention described below are set forth without any loss of generality to, and without imposing limitations upon, the claimed invention.
An advantage to locating the grating-type mark 130 inside the ring-type mark 101 is an improved ability to center the two marks with respect to each other if the grating-type mark 130 is inside the ring-type mark 101. In particular, because the centroid 103 of both marks is the same, measurements made on templates used to form the combined target 100 at a mask shop will naturally be at the same position. This is important because certain aberrations in forming an image of the target 100, e.g., lens aberrations, are position sensitive. An additional advantage is that if the grating-type target 130 lies within the ring-type mark 101, the combined target 100 can take up less real-estate on the masks (reticles or imprint templates) used to make the combined target 100.
In theory, it is possible use the ring-type target 101 to get all the desired overlay data. The advantage of using the small grating-type target 130 within the ring-type target 101 is that grating-type targets are very tolerant of process variation induced by CMP and other etch-related deterioration of the structures. Thus, the combined target 100 is more robust than a ring-type target and can provide information that cannot be obtained with a grating-type target while taking up no more space that a ring-type target.
The ring-type mark 101 includes a first ring structure 102 formed in a first layer and a second ring structure 104 that is centered within the first ring structure 102 may be formed in a second layer that overlies the first layer. In
Although ring-type structures are desirable since that also allow for separate measurement of overlay error as described above. The ring structures 102,104 may alternatively be replaced with “L”-type marks, bar-type or cross-type marks.
The first ring structure 102 is formed on a first layer of a device and the second ring structure 104 formed in a second layer that lies on top of the first layer. The first ring structure 102 is configured such that it can be viewed through the first layer. The first ring structure 102 may be made visible through the layer on top of it in a number of different ways. The films deposited over the first ring 102 may be made of a material that is sufficiently thin and optically transparent to the wavelengths used by the overlay measurement tools. Examples of such materials include photoresists, silicon oxides, etc. Even if the film on top of the first ring structure 102 is not transparent, the topography of the first ring structure 102 may be defined sufficiently that its edges may be seen by the metrology tool.
In the example shown, the ring structures 102, 104 are rectangular boxes having straight edges. In the example shown in
By way of example, grating-type mark 130 may be configured to measure point to point overlay error in two separate directions. However, embodiments of the invention are not limited to this particular configuration. In the example depicted in
The grating-type mark 130 includes a plurality of periodic structures 132 for determining the registration error between two wafer layers in two different directions. In the example shown in
The periodic structures 132 represent the actual areas of the mark that are used to calculate alignment between different layers of the wafer. The working zones 132 may be spatially separated from one another so that they do not overlap portions of an adjacent working zone. Some of the working zones may be separated via exclusion zones while other working zones are positioned next to an adjacent working zone. For example, working zone 132B is separated from working zones 132E and 132F via an exclusion zone 133 while working zones 132E and F are positioned next to one another at their edges.
To facilitate discussion, the periodic structures 132 may be grouped into two groups. A first group includes four periodic structures 132A-D that are configured to provide overlay information in a first direction. By way of example, the first direction may be the Y direction. Of the four working zones 132A-D, two of them 132A and 132D are disposed in the first layer and two of them 132B and C are disposed in the second layer (the first layer is represented by cross hatching, the second layer is represented by no cross hatching). As should be appreciated, for this mark configuration and in the case of zero overlay error (as shown), the centers of symmetry 135 of periodic structures 132A&D and periodic structures 132B&C coincide exactly. A second working group includes four periodic structures 132E-H configured to provide overlay information in a second direction that is perpendicular to the first direction. By way of example, the second direction may be the X direction. Of the four periodic structures 132E-H, two of them 132E and 132H are disposed in the first layer and two of them 132F and G are disposed in the second layer (the first layer is represented by cross hatching, the second layer is represented by no cross hatching). Similarly to the above, for this mark configuration and in the case of zero overlay (as shown), the centers of symmetry 137 of periodic structures 132E&H and periodic structures 132F&G coincide exactly. The centers of symmetry 135, 137 may intersect at the common centroid 103.
As should be appreciated, each of the groups represents an “X”-configured mark (albeit offset). For example, periodic structures 132A&D, which are on the same first layer, may be in diagonally opposed positions relative to one another, and periodic structures 132B&C, which are on the same second layer, may be in diagonally opposed positions relative to one another. Further, periodic structures 132A&D are angled relative to periodic structures 1322B&C. Further still, periodic structure 132A is spatially offset from periodic structure 132D, and periodic structure 132B is spatially offset from periodic structure 132D.
Preferably, the periodic structures 132A-132H are sufficiently spaced from the second ring-type structure 104 that the they do not interfere with image placement error measurements taken with the second ring-type structure 104. By way of example, and without limitation, a clearance of about 1 micron between periodic structures 132A-132H and an inner edge of the second ring-type structure 104 may be sufficient.
The combined overlay target 100 of
The configuration of the periodic structures 132A-132H may be rotationally symmetric (±90, 180, 270, 360 degrees around the center of the mark). This is typically done to reduce the impact of radial and axial variations across the field of view of the metrology tool, as for example, radial and axial variations caused by non-uniform optical aberrations and illumination that may cause tool induced shifts (TIS). Radial variations generally refer to variations that radiate from the center of the mark to the outer regions of the mark. Axial variations generally refer to variations that occur in directions along the axis of the mark, as for example, in the X direction from the left to the right portions of the mark, and in the Y direction from the lower to the upper portions of the mark.
Embodiments of the present invention allow for allow for measurement of both absolute grid error on a photomask or imprint template and the eventual layer to layer overlay at the wafer level. By using the same target for both types of error measurements, point for point measurements are made with the same centroid allowing issues such as lens aberrations to be accurately reflected.
The flow diagram of
It is possible to form structures in both the first and second layers with an imprint template or to form structures in both the first and second layers with a reticle. However, there can be advantages to forming structures in the first layer with a reticle and in the second layer with an imprint template. Nano-imprint tools may not have well developed ultra-accurate stages as do the scanners (e.g., available from ASML, Nikon, Canon, etc.) which use 4× reduction optical printing using reticles. Although one may use an imprint layer as the first layer, a combination of the two tools may be advantageous for maintaining a lower cost of ownership. Critical levels requiring resolutions not easily achieved by 4× reticles with optical scanners may be printed with nano-imprint templates. When this is done, the field being printed may be aligned using combined overlay and image placement error marks of the types described herein.
At 204, absolute displacement errors may be measured using the ring-type mark 101. For example, the ring-type mark 101 may be used to determine the errors associated with a reticle or imprint template used to form a pattern on a wafer. At 206 the grating-type mark may be used to measure an overlay. Because the ring-type mark 101 and the grating-type mark 130 share a common centroid 103 it is possible to match the absolute displacement measurements with the overlay measurements on a point for point basis at 208. Vector errors on a reticle or nano-imprint template may be matched with scanners or steppers since their vectors are typically known. Vector errors may be understood as follows. An image placement measurement tool compares a grid pattern image formed on a wafer to grid coordinates of the tool. The image placement measurement tool uses vertical and horizontal edges of the ring-type mark 101 or other marks as references for determining image placement. If a grid pattern on a reticle or template were to be perfectly reproduced on a wafer, the vector map would just look like a bunch of dots. If the pattern is not perfectly reproduced, the vector map would have arrows pointing in various directions with various magnitudes. The arrows would represent the direction and magnitude of displacement of the intersections in the grid pattern formed on the wafer relative to tool-based grid coordinates for a perfect grid. This vector map would be the pattern placement or grid error. If one then tries to print on top of this grid another grid—-a vector map measuring how accurately the second grid's intersections are placed over those of the first would be the layer-to layer vector map.
Embodiments of the present invention allow one to perform a dissection of the total overlay so that for a IX template or reticle the entire overlay error budget can be determined. For example, the total overlay specification on a 25-nm process may be about 8-9 nm. Tools commonly used to determine image placement error from the ring-type mark 101 can have an absolute accuracy of about 34 nm. Once these errors are measured for the pattern in each layer, that can be associated with the layer to layer overlay error as determined by the grating type mark 130 as part of the overall error budget.
As discussed above, the absolute displacement measurements may be measured with the ring-type mark 101 using a high magnification microscope, such as a CD-SEM. There are a number of different techniques for measuring overlay with the grating-type mark 130 and/or the ring-type mark 101. By way of example,
In the illustrated embodiment, the optical assembly 326 includes a light source 330 (e.g., incoherent or coherent, although incoherent is generally preferred) arranged to emit light 332 along a first path 334. The light 332 is made incident on a first lens 335, which focuses the light 332 onto a fiber optic line 336 configured to pass the light 332 therethrough. When the light 332 emerges from fiber optic line 336, it then passes through a second lens 338, which is arranged to collimate the light 332. The collimated light 332 then continues on its path until it reaches a beam splitter cube 340, which is arranged to direct the collimated light onto a path 342. The collimated light 332 continuing along path 342 is made incident on an objective lens 344, which focuses the light 332 onto the wafer 324.
The light 332, which reflects off of the wafer 324, is then collected by the objective lens 344. As should be appreciated, the reflected light 332 that is collected by the objective lens 344 generally contains an image of a portion of the wafer 324, as for example, the image of the overlay target 322. When the light 332 leaves the objective 344, it continues along path 342 (backwards) until it reaches the beam splitter cube 340. In general, the objective lens 344 manipulates the collected light in a manner that is optically reverse in relation to how the incident light was manipulated. That is, the objective lens 344 re-collimates the light 332 and directs the light 332 towards the beam splitter cube 340. The beam splitter cube 340 is arranged to direct the light 332 onto a path 346. The light 332 continuing on path 346 is then collected by a tube lens 350, which focuses the light 332 onto a camera 352 that records the image of the wafer 324, and more particularly the image of the target 322. By way of example, the camera 352 may be a charge couple device (CCD), a two-dimensional CCD, or linear CCD array. In most cases, the camera 352 transforms the recorded image into electrical signals, which can be used by, and which are sent to the computer 328. After receiving the electrical signals, the computer 328 performs analysis algorithms that calculate the overlay error of the image. Analysis algorithms will be described in greater detail below.
The system 320 further includes a frame grabber 354 that works with the computer 328 and the camera 352 to grab images from the wafer 324. Although the frame grabber 354 is shown as a separate component, it should be noted that the frame grabber 354 may be part of the computer 328 and/or part of the camera 352. The frame grabber 354 typically has two functions-target acquisition and image grab. During target acquisition, the frame grabber 354 and computer 328 cooperate with a wafer stage 356 to place the target in focus and to position the target as closes as possible to the center of the field of view (FOV) of the metrology tool. In most cases, the frame grabber grabs a plurality of images (e.g., not the images used to measure overlay) and the stage moves the wafer between these grabs until the target is correctly positioned in the X, Y and Z directions. As should be appreciated, the X&Y directions generally correspond to the field of view (FOV) while the Z direction generally corresponds to the focus. Once the frame grabber determines the correct position of the target, the second of these two functions is implemented (e.g., image grab). During image grab, the frame grabber 354 makes a final grab or grabs so as to capture and store the correctly positioned target images, i.e., the images that are used to determine overlay.
After grabbing the images, information must be extracted from the grabbed images to determine the registration error. The extracted information may be digital information or in waveforms. Various algorithms may then be used to determine the registration error between various layers of a semiconductor wafer. For example, a frequency domain based approach, a space domain based approach, Fourier transform algorithms, zero-crossing detection, correlation and cross-correlation algorithms and others may be used.
Algorithms proposed for determining overlay via the marks described herein (e.g., marks that contain periodic structures) can generally be divided into a few groups. For instance, one group may relate to phase retrieval based analysis. Phase retrieval based analysis, which is often referred to as frequency domain based approaches, typically involves creating one dimensional signals by collapsing each of the working zones by summing pixels along the lines of the periodic structure. Examples of phase retrieval algorithms that may be used are described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,023,338 issued to Bareket, U.S. Pat. No. 6,462,818 issued to Bareket, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,486,954 issued to Mieher, all of which are incorporated herein by reference.
Yet another phase retrieval algorithm that may be used is described in U.S. application Ser. No. 09/697,025 filed on Oct. 26, 2000, which is also incorporated herein by reference. The phase retrieval algorithm disclosed therein decomposes signals into a set of harmonics of the basic signal frequency. Quantitative comparison of different harmonics' amplitudes and phases provide important information concerning signals' symmetry and spectral content. In particular, the phase difference between the 1st and 2nd or higher harmonics of the same signal (calibrated with their amplitudes) measures the degree of the signal asymmetry. The major contributions to such asymmetry come from the optical misalignment and illumination asymmetry in the metrology tool (tool induced shifts), as well as process induced structural features (wafer induced shifts). Comparing this misregistration between the phases of the 1st and the 2nd harmonics for the signals acquired from different parts of the field of view on the same process layer may provide independent information about optical aberrations of the metrology tool. Finally, comparing these misregistrations from measurements at a given orientation with those obtained after rotating the wafer 180 degrees allows separation of the tool induced and wafer induced shifts due to asymmetry.
Yet another phase retrieval algorithm that may be used is Wavelet analysis. Wavelet analysis is somewhat similar to that described in the section above, however, now a dynamic window is moved across the one dimensional signal and the phase estimation is carried out in a more localized way. This is particularly of interest with use in the case of a chirped periodic structure.
Another group may relate to intensity correlation based methods. In this approach the centers of symmetry for each process layer is found separately by calculating the cross covariance of one signal with the reversed signal from the opposite part of the mark, from the same process layer. This technique is similar to techniques used today with regards to box in box targets. Such a technique may be used with the ring-type target 101 of the combined mark 100.
The above techniques are brought by way of example and have been tested and demonstrated good performance. Other alternative algorithmic methods for calculation of overlay include other variations of auto & cross correlation techniques, error correlation techniques, error minimization techniques, such as minimization of absolute difference, minimization of the square of the difference, threshold based techniques including zero cross detection, and peak detection. There are also dynamic programming algorithms which can be used for searching for the optimal matching between two one-dimensional patterns. As mentioned above, the analysis algorithms and approaches may be utilized with respect to all of the various overlay marks described in the previous section.
Importantly, it should be noted that the above diagram and description thereof is not a limitation and that the overlay image system may be embodied in many other forms. For example, it is contemplated that the overlay measurement tool may be any of a number of suitable and known imaging or metrology tools arranged for resolving the critical aspects of overlay marks formed on the surface of the wafer. By way of example, overlay measurement tool may be adapted for bright field imaging microscopy, darkfield imaging microscopy, full sky imaging microscopy, phase contrast microscopy, polarization contrast microscopy, and coherence probe microscopy. It is also contemplated that single and multiple image methods may be used in order to capture images of the target. These methods include, for example, single grab, double grab, single grab coherence probe microscopy (CPM) and double grab CPM methods. These types of systems, among others, are readily available commercially. By way of example, single and multiple image methods may be readily available from KLA-Tencor of San Jose, Calif.
Calculation of overlay using the grating-type mark 130 is described e.g., in U.S. Pat. No. 6,921,916 issued to Adel et al.
The overlay may be determined from the signal, e.g., via a covariance-based overlay algorithm, which is based upon calculation of the cross-correlation between the patterns belonging to the same process layers. As a result, the centers of symmetry for both layers are found, and their misregistration is essentially the overlay. Alternatively, this may be accomplished via a Fourier Decomposition overlay algorithm, which utilizes the periodical character of the grating structures. This algorithm decomposes signals acquired from the target patterns to a series of Fourier harmonics. Comparison of phases between the same order harmonics from different process layers calibrated to nominal pitch of the grating patterns serves then as a basis for overlay calculation. Accordingly, this algorithm provides several independent overlay results-one for each Fourier order.
While this invention has been described in terms of several preferred embodiments, there are alterations, permutations, and equivalents, which fall within the scope of this invention.
For example, although the invention has been described in terms of manufacturing semiconductor devices, it should be realized that the invention may also be suitable for manufacturing other types of devices such as microfabrication of optical or optoelectronic devices, microfabrication of magnetic storage media or magnetic storage read/write or input/output devices, microfabrication using lithographic patterning in general, to include photolithography down to 100 nm exposure wavelengths, extreme-ultraviolet lithography with wavelengths 10 nm to 100 nm, X-rays lithography with wavelengths <10 nm, electron beam lithography, ion beam patterning, or mixed lithography using more than one of these methods.
In addition, besides supplying data for overlay measurements, periodic structure targets are capable of providing much additional information for target, stepper and metrology tool diagnostics (e.g., contrast, sharpness, graininess, acquisition quality and symmetry metrics). For example, comparison of overlay, precision, TIS, and TIS variability results obtained by Covariance and Fourier Decomposition methods can serve as one such instrument. Measurement of phase difference between different Fourier harmonics from the same signal gives important information concerning symmetry of the marks due to process imperfectness, aberrations or illumination problems. Performing the same analysis for the target rotated by 180° allows the separation of asymmetries on the wafer from those due to the metrology tool. Filling the whole FOV by target structures allows the selection of different working zones, thus providing information about variations within a single target and allowing additional optimization. Finally, grating targets provide an opportunity for simpler diagnostic of the target's tilt in FOV.
Furthermore, although the algorithms have been described as utilizing one dimensional arrays of information, it should be noted that they may also be applied to two dimensional arrays of information.
Moreover, although the marks herein have been described for measuring overlay, they may also be used for one or more of the following measurements or applications: CD, exposure monitoring, resist profile monitoring, focus monitoring, and the like.
Many variations are possible on the embodiments described above. For example, as shown in
In other embodiments of the invention, image placement error marks may be located within a perimeter defined by grating-type marks. For example as shown in
In alternative embodiments of the invention, other image placement error targets may be used in lieu of the ring structures 802, 804. In
As alternatives to the orientation of the L-type marks 822, 824, the combined target 820 may alternatively use “L”-type marks 822C, 824C having corners that meet as shown in
While the above is a complete description of the preferred embodiment of the present invention, it is possible to use various alternatives, modifications and equivalents. Therefore, the scope of the present invention should be determined not with reference to the above description but should, instead, be determined with reference to the appended claims, along with their full scope of equivalents. Any feature, whether preferred or not, may be combined with any other feature, whether preferred or not. In the claims that follow, the indefinite article “A”, or “An” refers to a quantity of one or more of the item following the article, except where expressly stated otherwise. The appended claims are not to be interpreted as including means-plus-function limitations, unless such a limitation is explicitly recited in a given claim using the phrase “means for.”
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|U.S. Classification||356/401, 356/399|
|Cooperative Classification||G03F9/7076, G03F7/70633|
|European Classification||G03F7/70L10D, G03F9/70K2|
|Feb 17, 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: KLA-TENCOR TECHNOLOGIES CORPORATION, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:DIBIASE, TONY;REEL/FRAME:017598/0171
Effective date: 20060216
|Feb 6, 2012||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Feb 5, 2016||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8